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Christchurch to get the South Island's first Cat Café

Local friends to felines have got the chance to chip in on the purr-fect solution to finding new homes for the city's unwanted cats and kittens, with plans to open the South Island's first cat café well underway. 

Aiming to open in February 2018, Catnap Café will not only offer up kickass coffee and an extensive vegetarian cabinet menu, but will also be a sanctuary for rescue cats. Alyssa O’Connor and Nate Ball, the husband and wife entrepreneurial team behind the project, have launched a Kickstarter campaign which has already raised over $11,000 towards the $25,000 they need to get things purring along. Alyssa is enthusiastic: “Post-quake Christchurch is the perfect environment to open such an exciting venue. The city is open to change and innovation in a way that perhaps we weren’t before, and there are so many homeless cats and kittens that need our help. We want Catnap to be more than just a café - we want it to be a space that will give back to the community - both the human and the feline!” she says.

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The first ever cat café, “Cat Garden”, popped up in Taiwan in 1998, but the concept reached new heights of popularity after making it over Japan in 2004. Since then, cat cafés have been mushrooming up all over the world, including in India, Estonia, Italy, Russia, the UK, the US, Canada and, eventually, New Zealand. The North Island already boasts three cat cafés (two in Auckland and one in Rotorua).

Catnap Café is receiving enthusiastic backing from Cat Rescue Christchurch, a local rescue organisation which has rehomed over 4,400 stray cats and kittens since 2006. Cat Rescue Director Beki said "We are really excited about Catnap, and think it will really help us out with adoptions and [with generating] more support from the community.” Catnap Café won't just rehouse cats and kittens but will also provide a space for kids and adults who may not normally have the opportunity – or who simply need an extra dose of kitty cat love – to cuddle and play with cats and kittens. The café is set to be a feature attraction among visitors and locals alike! If you're keen to get behind Catnap Café, hit up their Kickstarter campaign here:

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